Your preferred engine for public I.F.

So I wanted to try and get a quick idea of something. In regards to interactive fiction, namely text based, open to public submission interactives (EX. what engine, website, or other do you prefer to use as a creator, as a submitter, or just a reader. is the most well know but seemingly least liked option. While the site is fairly streamed lined and functional, the fact that it already has so many negative ideas attached to it plus the fact that within recent times they have hidden the ability to create interactive fictions behind a subscription makes a highly disliked option.

Unending BE seems to more generally liked, but my personal opinion seems rather messy and hard to navigate, plus it’s unusual nature makes it hard to search for specific content. But it’s completely free and doesn’t even require a login to write and virtually no rules on what you can write. seems like a the happy medium between and Unending BE, only requiring a login to contribute and a very clean website that’s easy to use, though it has much stricter rules on what you’re allowed to write about, and you must have every new interactive approved by a moderater before it can be posted. If you want to revoke a chapter for whatever reason, even if it’s your own, you must again get a moderater to do it, if they will at all.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on these sites and their potential to make really good erotic weight gain interactives. Let us know of one I haven’t listed above, tell me if I’m wrong about something I said, just discuss!

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I’ve looked at these types of things in the past, and I think they are fundamentally flawed. As a reader you can dip into the start of a story, choose the branches that interest you personally, but rapidly come to a section that still needs writing. It’s a frustrating experience as a user, even ignoring the quality of some of the writing, especially for erotic writing - talk about orgasm denial!

It’s easy to see why: if each section offers two choices, then you’ve got combinatorial explosion - go 10 choices in and there are 1,024 (2^10) pages that still need writing. Any many pages offer even more choices than two (3^10 is a much bigger number, ~60x bigger, than 2^10)! Even with an army of contributors that’s not going to get done. The only way around it is to be able to join threads back together again, but few actually support this, and you also need variables to track what has happened (at least CHYOA offers some, but only booleans and ints), and lots of conditions to know what to offer next.

At a bare minimum for a WG story you need to be able to track the size of the player and each NPC, and have some kind of ‘widget’ that can substitute their current size into any description in a repeatable way, and a policy of how the writers use the variables. And that means the writers have to be at least passingly familiar with some kind of code - or you have a writer and coder working in tandem, and someone to coordinate the approach (which starts to break the idea of public submission).

Which kind of brings me onto what does work and achieves some kind of completion; think of games that do have many scenes submitted by many authors - it’s teams of people working in a coordinated way, there’s a plan, an overarching story and world. I guess CoC and TiTS are good examples (Pornarium also, back in the day). They are/were to some extent open to public submission, but they were also curated, and had something more complex than just hyperlinks at their core.

What might work is a combination of Twine, Tweego, and Git. Many people can work in Twine, it’s not too complex, use Tweego for the build and authors can work their parts of the story in separate files. Version control in Git (though not simple) would allow anyone to take the story and add to it as they will, but also allow changes to be merged back into the master (or not).

The other thing that may work is just a Wiki. It’s got the necessary linking, it’s publicly editable, often you can build widgets, and there’s the possibility of getting into Javascript for variables and conditions. Twine itself has it’s origins in TiddlyWiki - each passage is a “tiddler”.

Possibly inklewriter, but I don’t know if you can share logins at all and how it might handle simultaneous editing?

In short, I think the original concept is an intractable problem. Public submission and no curation is at odds with producing CYOA style stories that are finished from the reader’s perspective (while there may be some combinations of choices that are complete, the readers chance of finding them is vanishingly small). You have to give up one of those things: make it not public, add a curator, or just accept readers are going to end up disappointed.

As a writer, I assume the goal is first to have people read your story, and collaborating to some extent is a secondary concern!

Another issue I have with the likes of is they way some seem to treat it essentially a virtual begging bowl: I want a story about ‘x’ so I write the start and see if someone else would like to “finish” (ie. do all the work) for me.

As for the rules that apply on these sites, I suspect it’s a basic CYA exercise (much like we have here) as hosting illegal content is, well, illegal - obviously what exactly is illegal depends on where the hosting is done, and the jurisdiction applying to the owners. From that point of view only CHYOA has a sensible approach!


That is so relatable, it hurts. I do frequently post to, and I can think of one very good example of this. Obviously, I won’t say the bloke’s name, but every time I saw something they’d written, it was an options chapter. I was curious once, so I went to their profile to check what they’d posted since they’d been a member since 2016.

There was one real chapter. Friggin’ ONE, and it was a single paragraph. Everything else was a “more options” chapter.


I’m sorry I brought up bad memories!

It got me thinking about what would be needed to make one of these systems work for both readers and writers. It definitely needs two modes: Reader when only stories that have an ending are listed as starts, and only links that lead to an ending are shown (possibly with a count of unfinished paths). In writer mode you can see stories in progress, and unfinished paths.

To try and reward finishing stories possibly a system of writing points could work. When you sign up you get enough points to start one story. End the story and you get those points back (and readers can see it), and can start another. Until you have one ending in place you can’t create branches in the story. You’d also receive points from readers ‘liking’ the end of a story.

Once a story has an ending any writer can add a new branch at the cost of some points (less than those needed to start a new story), getting that investment back when the new branch reaches an ending. The idea is to get away from the idea that the original author of a chapter has to (has the ability to) define all the options going forward.

There’d probably be a character roster, defining the traits and attributes of each character in the story, so when you are writing a new chapter you have notes from the previous author about the characters up to that point. A new chapter can modify the attributes of the character, add or remove them, add new characters, or import characters that occur later in the main branch. This would be a great place to store variables (in our case for example, weight), and there’d be some mechanism for dragging and dropping these into the text to create substitutions.

Since sometime a writer is going to run out of steam then I’d add an option to abandon the work, adding it into a pool available stories to work on - with the bulk of the initially invested points going to the writer who finished the work.

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I can definitely understand where you’re coming from, it can be exceedingly annoying in these situations for contributers and consumers alike when nothing is ever finished, and that’s the material at hand was good to begin with. A more controlled, intimate system with more invested would be amazing,

But I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon. Unless you have an ending already planned you’re more or less asking people to add to the story until a unanimous decision can be made on how to end it. Plus while you could set a definite ending in place for writers to figure out how to get to I personally believe doing so would undermine the point of having a community driven interactive project like that.

I guess what I’m trying to get across is that while I’d love any of your ideas to become reality I don’t believe they accomplish what I love so much about the concept. Being open to any and everyone. I love the idea that any smuck like me with an itch to write can do so in this large, sprawling thing is just plain cool in my opinion. I know that any open system like that will have problems, the above mentioned unfinishing story problem, bare minimum effort in anticipation for people to come flocking, people who just write choice chapters, varying levels of writing ability, are only the cherry picked problems of this idea, but in a way I love it. Really I’d like a system like CHYOA’s if they’d at least let you edit and delete your own chapters without a moderaters approval.

I guess what I’m saying is that I made this thread to get people’s opinions, but I already know I’ve come to accept a certain level of chaos in these things just because it’s fun.

That said I’m willing to offer my version of a system that could potentially allow anyone to contribute but keep the material constantly monitored with out straining someone too much.

A voting system: The creator starts the story with their premise and a first round of choices. For after the first one each chapter has two rounds of voting, the first where the creator posts a variety of choices for the chapter to pick from, with the creator’s choice to add community submitted choices, and then when the choices have been picked a second round to actually make one of the choices. The other choices are left opens and the creator can choose to have them be left there or open them to the public to fill in while they continue with the “Main” story. Again this is obviously not an airtight idea, but I think it allows a creator to keep a handle on an interactive and subtly push in the direction they want while also giving options for others to contribute.

Or it’s all just bullshit and I’m a jerkwad, IDK.

Writing dot com, between its archaic design, self-harming paywall implementation, intentional attacks against the IF portion of the site (and other egregious examples of mismanagement) is demonized for reasons far beyond the quality of the things it hosts.

There’s some things you can do to make open IF better but there should be means of encouraging contributors, even if it’s some sort of tip jar or the like. That would go a long way to drawing old writers back to the medium and encourage new people to try their hand at it. Almost all the alternatives to That Site suffer from not having as big a member base or audience.

I actually think that this site could be a good place to host IF content, provided there’s a will to support it and pay for the additional hosting cost.


I’m not much of a fan of IF personally. I find the different writing styles often jar a bit too much to be enjoyable, but I think @cheddar has a potentially good idea in suggesting this site would be a good place to host. From reading posts on here, there are a heck of a lot of good ideas floating around, and if the tools were in place on this site, it might inspire some really good work.

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I think public interactive fiction would be a lot more likely to get completed if the community was in agreement. On, it was almost impossible to find a topic that I enjoyed and there was no real way to find similar minded people and decide on the best way to start the story so that as many people as possible would want to add things to it. If we host it here, there is a much higher chance people will be faithful with it, assuming we can write different versions of each character arc. Still, the concept is quite a bit of work as it is often more complex than a visual novel to write a complete story for a character choice or whatever.
So I guess the best option is to have people that are dedicated to the drafting and polling of entries so that it becomes less of a true public experience and more of a curated community effort. We would decide on stuff like when the plot point should end so that we avoid conflicts with how the choices are presented, and which characters should be made without intention to be the focus (a lot of the interactives I looked at on tried to make every character that came up into a new choice and it was ridiculous).

Curation is/was a constant problem insofar as being reliant largely on author moderation, though there are examples among interactives on that site; the Bobo works come to mind.

@dingotush et al. provide an accurate critique of interactive fiction. The exponential growth of chapters to write; the lack of continuity of writing styles/quality, point-of-view, and tracked stats; the sacrificing of world-building for the sake of options; the “begging bowl” issue. The two main viable solutions seem to be either having a coordinated team or a pseudo-interactive fiction, which I describe below. Honestly, I have only ever viewed interactive fiction for creative scenarios that inspire me for my own story.

I also love DT’s recommendation of a reader-writer mode dichotomy. The point system could get messy, but it is an innovative idea. A character roster would be helpful, as well. @Resop’s voting system has been explored, at least to some extent. @Jhale’s suggestion for a community curation could work, too.

My concept:

I do not like the idea of having writers come in knowing the ending they have to write towards. They should be able to take the story wherever their heart desires. That said, the story, when first published, should be complete. Then, another writer can come along, say, “I like the start of this story, but I would have liked the character to have made this choice,” and write a divergent story-line. Every story route has to be complete; if not, readers should be able to flag an unfinished path. If a set number of readers flag a story-line, that story-line is hidden from readers’ view until its author updates the end.

If a prospective writer comes upon an ending and says, “I want to continue this story,” they can. In that case, the option for readers would be “The End.” or “Continue?”. Once again, the “encore” story-line needs to be complete, as well. To reward well-written story-lines, readers should be able to up-vote them. The path with the most up-votes will be the “preferred” story-line, for readers that want to skip decision points. Like a wiki page, writers should be able to make revisions–whether it be just a typo fix or adding more detail. All revisions would have to be approved by the original author of that story-line. Writers should additionally be able to merge their alternate story-line to back into another story-line.

The result would be less branching, but more satisfying tales. All writers would be serious authors.

I do think that if your goal is to write and finish a story, then you do have to have an ending in mind when you start out (even if it’s not the one you end up going with). There’s plenty written elsewhere about how to write stories. Not having that is just inviting abandoning the project to my way of thinking. Not to say it can’t be done - after all one of my favourite writers, Douglas Adams, is (in)famous for working this way.

However if you goal is just to riff off other writers in a “Whose Line is it Anyway” kind of game then finishing a story is a secondary concern - though they of course had both time pressure and a time limit, and at any point the host could demand an ending from the next “writer”. I can imagine having an “improv” mode where the writer cannot continue their own story, but it needs to be taken up by someone else, with the system looking at the branch depth and demanding an ending (of sorts) so you get short stories with many branches.

It’s not clear to me whether you just want to write, or to have readers.

I do think you should be able to edit and delete, right up to the point that someone else takes up part of the story from what you have submitted - after that, no, because you are destroying their work. Any edits would have to be just fixing typos and so on. Any edit that substantively changes what happened would break anything downstream.

I kinda like this, but I can see a couple of problems. Firstly the voting may lead the writer in the position of being asked to write something that wasn’t their first choice, and thus being less inclined to continue, which would be a shame. Though you could make the voting advisory anyway or just make it so the writer had the option of offering a vote or not (eg. where they are on the ence about how to proceed).

The second would be community bias. In our case, lets say there’s a significant minority that likes stories that end up with blob sizes, and the initial set of stories end up with blob sized characters as a result. This draws more people who are into that kind of thing, more votes go that way, putting off readers who aren’t into that, who then leave (and stop voting for alternatives). The site as a whole becomes focused on blobs, with it being near impossible to create a story that doesn’t have that as the ending. It doesn’t have to be blobs of course, the bias could focus on say female WG, or only hetro stories, and that would be a shame.

Also, when voting, the voters need some clue not about what the character does next, but where the story is going. In the classic systems, you might only see “Bob orders pizza” or “Bob orders a curry” - but the voters need to know where that choice is heading: is the pizza delivery guy a chiselled Italian hunk with a feeder fetish? Who brings the curry? - this information would be hidden from the eventual reader of course.

I’d envisioned that the author could flag a passage as an end - that way the system could work back from the ends to the start and work out what stories and paths were complete, and which were not. But, reader input works too. You could also age unfinished stories based on when they were last worked on, and rank them accordingly.

I did wonder about this when I was thinking about it originally. Both from a technical point of view as it changes a finished story into an unfinished one, and a more emotive one - the author thought they were done, but now they are not. Maybe a better option would be “Next book”? Failing that the author who wanted the story to continue just has to write a new choice into the penultimate page (the original path and the story remains finished).

I think the idea of having a team of writers is a good one - allowing an author-chosen team to work together on the story, before it becomes modifiable by anyone.

At the risk of feature-creep, I’d also like to add “export to Twine” as an option so offline stories can be generated.

I was wondering about tagging passages, and whether it would help finding stories that a reader might enjoy. That way the story could be searchable by all the tags that were at least options in it, and with each choice the reader makes they could be presented with a list of tags that were possibilities down that route (if they wished).

While I would love to say that I’m actively both, I can’t lie, I’m definitely more a reader than writer. I have created some smaller works of my own I have never fully committed to making a larger project. To try and give myself some credit, I like to think of myself as a contributor, I like to add on and participate in the creation of a story or idea. In general I just don’t like making my own erotic material, it just doesn’t satisfy me, though I know that it’s not all about me and there is a lot to be said to the satisfaction of given to the community or finishing a story, but for something I’d enjoy in a much more “personal” way I just can’t do it. Helping others make it though is fun, I don’t necessarily feel like a lazy sleeze ball at the very least anyway.

I don’t know what this perspective means for my opinion on community driven interactive fiction really as really my only goal with this thread was to get peoples thoughts and ideas on the subject out in the open. I have loved watching people come up with their own systems and how they would work and bouncing my own ideas off y’all.

Which speaking of, my voting system. I suppose that the system would allow for you to turn voting on or off, as in each choice presented is totally within their control, essentially they’d make a text adventure, or what I described before. As for the bias problem, yeah I could see that being a problem, but that’s why I tried to give the creator’s the power to pick and choose the choices they want to work with. It’s a tricky balancing act and one I’ll admit am having trouble figuring out, but that’s why I made the thread! Let me know what you think or if you (more than likely) have a better idea.